Traveling with Kids: 5 Tips to Prepare

Last summer my two kiddos (4 months and 22 months at the time) and I, along with my mom, flew to San Diego to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and new 6 week old niece! I know going anywhere with these two is a chore so I prepared for weeks (if not months) for this trip. I am doing a short blog series on traveling with kids that will focus on the following:

For this first post in the series I will show you what and how I packed as well as some tips for you to use on your next trip.

Luggage is such a pain, right? You have to literally "lug" it around and on some airlines you have to pay anywhere from $25-50 to check luggage one way! Eek! Luckily for this trip the cheapest airfare we found was through Southwest Airlines and they don't charge checked luggage fees for the first two pieces. I knew I was just going to pack up one big bag for all of us so this was perfect for us.

5 Tips to Prepare for a Trip with Little Ones:

1. Make a List... or 8 of them!

About two weeks before the trip I started formulating my lists..  I had about six by the time the trip came along! I had a pack list for each person, a list of activities for my son on the flights and the trip, my Amazon.com list (I'll explain this later in #5), a list of fun things to do when we reached San Diego as well as budget, and a list of other carry on items. The packing lists were so crucial for my sanity and for ensuring a more relaxed trip.

Random Tip: Before you actually narrow your packing lists and start packing, check to see if you can do laundry at your location. If you can do laundry then you can pack less and save some space in your suitcase. If you can't then I would pack at least two extra outfits per person. It sounds like overkill but it's happened a few times that trips have been extended for weird unforeseen reasons and no one likes to put on dirty clothes. For this trip since we were staying at my sister's condo we were able to do laundry.

2. Pack Capsule Wardrobes

For the clothes I made up a capsule wardrobe for each person. A capsule wardrobe uses a few coordinating pieces that create a variety of different ensembles. These are the only way to travel if you are carrying all luggage on the plane with you or if you are cramming a lot into one piece, which was my plan since I would have carseats, a stroller, and carryon bags.

Random Tip: A mesh bag is great for those beach vacations. They don't catch/hold sand and dry in no time. It's easy to find the sunscreen at the bottom of the bag too!

I packed both reusable and disposable swim diapers. Did you know you can wash and reuse disposable swim diapers? Here's the dish!

3. Use Compression Bags

Most of the clothes were packed into three bags that are similar to vacuum bags. The difference is that these bags don't require a vacuum (excellent if you are not sure if your location will have a vacuum). You simply roll to push out all the air and then seal shut. This way the clothes take up less room and are protected from sunscreen or face wash busting out all over them. You can get them on Amazon in a value pack if you're interested.

Amazing, right? All of the clothes from the four pictures above fit in just half the suitcase!! Don't worry you will fill the rest with shoes, diapers, and other extras.

Random Tip: Use a wet bag for your personal hygiene items... then when you get to your destination you can use it for wet beach clothes!

4. Shower Caps for Shoes

I added shoes in to the suitcase using shower caps. I have this weird thing about dirty shoes touching clean clothes and the shower caps are a pack of 8 at the dollar store. I reuse them too for our trips! I just keep them in the pocket of the suitcase for the next trip.

Random Tip: As you can see I stuffed my baby girl's hair bows in my shoes along with some socks so that they wouldn't get smashed.

5. Send Bulky Things to Your Destination

I didn't pack too many diapers because I sent them to our destination! I sent a few other things as well... extra cups, utensils, a pack of wipes, sunscreen, snacks, etc. The nice thing about Amazon Prime is that your order is delivered in 2 days. I sent a pack of diapers for my son and a pack for my daughter. I also sent reusable swim diapers and a SPF hat for my daughter since I realized last minute that I didn't have one. Lastly, I included some of my son's favorite snacks, pouches and a pack of take and toss cups so I didn't have to bring a bunch and/or wash them constantly. It worked out nicely!

If you are staying with friends/family then shipping to them is no problem. Same with renting a house or condo at your destination. If you are staying in a hotel call them in advance and inquire about how packages get to guests. Most will accept the packages and ensure they get delivered to your room but you want to be sure.

Overall my packing was on point. The nice thing is that almost every place you go there is a store to pick things that were accidentally forgotten so don't fret too much about it.

I hope you found a few useful tips for your next trip and stay tuned for the next post on air travel and navigating the airport and the planes!

<- Kassy ->

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